The cold shoulder may seem pretty harmless, but it is in fact quite the opposite! In relationships, it is actually regarded as one of the most damaging types of punishment that exist. As social creatures, we need communication to express ourselves and open our hearts, but this simply isn't possible with a narcissist. With them, disagreements aren't followed by a period of cooling off and then an apology. No, instead they are one-sided and soon turn into bitter cold wars, with them intent on punishing their victims and teaching them an albeit non-verbal lesson, hence the silent treatment. However, much like ghosters, when they feel like people have learned their so-called lesson, they'll resume all communication as a way of metaphorically rewarding them. After all, they love toying with emotions and feelings.
6 Reasons why silent treatment is a narcissist's favorite tactic
Here's why it's so powerful...
1) It's a form of emotional abuse
By going stone-cold silent on their victims, narcissists retain the upper hand in the relationship. In this particular case, they'll use the lack of communication as a form of punishment and therefore make their already downtrodden victims feel even more powerless, insignificant, and invisible. The truth is, when we are trapped in a cycle of vicious mental abuse, we often develop strong feelings for the perpetrators of our mental demise. Following this logic, victims who are typically isolated from their family members, therefore, feel rewarded and appreciated when they receive even the slightest bit of attention from their tormentors, which explains why cutting it off is so deeply cruel.
>>> Discover the dangerous mind games all narcissists play
2) It causes further trauma and stress
Verbal communication is the pillar of any relationship, so when a narcissist abuser decides to stop talking to their partner or in this case victim, they consciously choose to inflict pain and confusion on them. A sudden halt in communication may not seem like aggressive behavior, but it really is just that! Toxic relationships are like prisons in the sense that they break people down and cut them off from the outside world, meaning their bubble of comfort becomes very reduced. Now, in this case, when something changes within a relationship, such as communication being cut off, it's only natural to feel a flood of emotions including stress, anger, sadness, and frustration.
3) It worsens self-esteem issues
In any relationship, when one partner decides to stop talking, the other partner will naturally feel confused and also feel frustrated when no explanation as to why has been offered. Now, in the case of an abusive relationship with a grade A gaslighter, the innocent party will be so cut off from their old life that they'll have no one to confide in, meaning their brain will go into complete overdrive and result in them blaming themselves for this radical change. They may even end up begging or pleading with their abuser for clarification, whilst apologizing for hurting their feelings and offending them. Here, the roles will clearly be switched...
4) It makes victims even more determined to please
Narcissist silent treatment is a clear form of manipulation, and many psychologists believe that it is just as dangerous and debilitating as gaslighting. They say that silence speaks volumes, and they're certainly not wrong! This tactic allows ill-intentioned abusers to remain in the driving seat, whilst controlling the conversation. Plus, this amount of passive aggression pushes people to question everything, when they have in fact done absolutely nothing wrong.
5) It's a form of provocation
Folks with a narcissistic personality disorder are fantastic at analyzing people's shortcomings and weaknesses, which means they know exactly what buttons to push in order to provoke a reaction from someone. Now, when these slippery snakes want to intensify their hold over their prey, they'll do everything possible to push them to the edge and subsequently explode with rage and anger. Then, once they have obtained the explosive reaction they were looking for, they will begin to guilt-trip their victim and pretend that they feel really hurt by their behavior and trust me, they are great actors... This is a classic mind game that manipulators play to make their victims feel guilty for their outbursts. Plus, in most cases, it makes them even more determined to please their abuser, meaning it only reinforces the cycle of abuse.
6) It has negative physical effects too
Not only does silent treatment make you feel invisible, but it can also make you feel physically unwell too. As a matter of fact, feeling ignored triggers a reaction in the brain that then convinces people that they are physically hurt. Who'd have thought that silence could have such a severe negative effect on both our mental and physical state? Furthermore, it can provoke migraines, digestive issues, as well as insomnia which can last even after the period of abuse, is over.
What happens when you give the narcissist silent treatment?
When you decide to give the narcissist silent treatment they will be totally thrown by it at the beginning, however, they will soon revert to their evil ways once the reality sets in. When these toxic abusers realize that you have frozen them out, they may make an intense effort to win you back by apologizing to you and making grand gestures. However, when you begin to show them some real resilience, they will decide to become even nastier and even more vindictive. Here, they will become even more manipulative, and they certainly won’t hesitate to make up rumors about you. In short, they’ll do whatever it takes to coax a reaction from you, in an attempt to bring the silence to an end.
Editor's opinion - There is light at the end of the tunnel
Once you have learned to recognize that you are a victim of abuse, a world of possibilities will present itself to you. Acknowledging what you have been through is the first and the most important step when it comes to healing. It's also essential to keep in mind that the journey to get better will be easier with the help of your family and friends. The bottom line is that you are an innocent party here, and didn't deserve any of this terrible pain.
🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!
Be sure to check out these articles too;